Colleges have fully embraced Facebook as a way to interact with current and prospective students, alumni, and even the general public. It’s a natural fit for finding and communicating with students who are online all the time anyway, and affords colleges a seemingly limitless opportunity for sharing photos, recruiting new students, featuring professors and visiting speakers, and bolstering the image of the institution.
Here are 50 great ways colleges are using Facebook.
Prospective and Current Students
From recruitment strategies to supporting current students, here’s how colleges are working with students via Facebook.
- Getting their own Facebook page: Colleges set up their own Facebook pages to give students a more interactive platform for researching schools.
- Schools find interesting students on Facebook: By visiting profiles, admissions officers find new students to recruit based on their extracurriculars and other interesting activities.
- Share news and events for prospective students: Updating application deadlines and special campus events is common among admissions officers on Facebook.
- Badgering sports recruits: Unfortunately, some colleges take recruiting too far and post too frequently on prospectives’ walls or leave too many messages.
- Admissions officers add Facebook to their signature: E-mail signatures often include “Follow us on Facebook” or other Facebook links to encourage students to seek them out elsewhere.
- They reach prospective students where they are everyday: Colleges feel that Facebook is a natural place to meet students, since that’s where they spend time everyday anyway.
- Provide the whole admissions experience: Texas A&M has customized a Howdy! page with links to the A&M campus tours website, admissions homepage, and a lot more.
- Direct students to articles and videos: Some recruiters direct students to informative articles or videos by sending them links on Facebook.
- Allowing individual admissions officers to have their own accounts: If students feel uncomfortable contacting the Admissions Facebook page, they can talk with an officer one-on-one.
- Show support via “liking”: Recruitment officers show support by liking students’ statuses and links.
- Share more photos: Traditional college websites don’t have a lot of extra room for photos, but on Facebook pages, visitors love clicking through albums to view the campus and student life.
- Free recruitment: Posting messages on Facebook is free, unlike sending packages in the mail.
- Open up questions: Ohio State features an AskOSUAdmissions page on its profile, letting future Buckeyes type in questions that will be answered by officers.
- Facebook Places: The University of Kentucky encourages students to check in to different spots on campus so that its name will keep showing up in news feeds.
- Link to applications: The University of Kansas lets students apply directly from the Facebook page.
- Host discussions: Forums among prospective students, current students, staff and faculty thrive on Facebook pages.
- Visit student pages: Many schools won’t use information on a student’s profile to make a decision about admissions, but they also don’t have rules prohibiting officers from visiting student pages.
- Notes: Schools can make more announcements under the “Notes” page.
- Organize a list of school websites: List all relevant links on one page for easy referencing.
- Scholarship stories: Stanford’s students can submit their stories of financial aid onto the Facebook page as a recruiting strategy.
- Allow open conversation: From roommate requests to random shout-outs, colleges allow all kinds of wall posts on their pages.
- List majors: Clearly list all the majors offered for easy prospective student research.
Public and Alumni Relations
Colleges reach out to alumni networks and the general public through Facebook, too.
- Feature important university figures: Schools create interest by featuring campus figures.
- Highlighting alumni: Instead of waiting for newsletters or magazines, alumni features pop up on Facebook whenever someone is doing anything newsworthy.
- Sell clothing and spirit gear: Colleges supply a link to their bookstore or gift shop to encourage fans to buy gear.
- Sharing news stories and links about the university: When a news story is published about the school, colleges use Facebook to point friends to the article so that everyone can see it.
- Separate alumni pages: To focus on alumni news and events, colleges often set up a totally separate Facebook page for past students only.
- Show off traditions: Colleges explain and give examples of different traditions, including chants, songs and mascots.
- Boosting school spirit: Simple quotes or status updates about school spirit are a hit with students, fans and the public.
- Answer questions: When the public or students ask questions on the Facebook wall, a moderator jumps in to give a personal answer and strengthen that person’s bond with the school.
- Invite fans to events: Invite Facebook friends to public or alumni events, like game day.
Videos, iTunes U and other media help enrich the Facebook experience.
- YouTube channels: Lots of schools have their own YouTube channels and link those videos to their Facebook pages.
- Link to Twitter: Some colleges even encourage Facebook fans to then follow them on Twitter, too.
- Link to the blog: Sync your blog’s RSS with your Facebook page.
- Facebook videos: Besides YouTube, colleges upload videos onto Facebook directly.
- Expand the brand: From screensavers to e-cards, some colleges make use of virtual and digital tools to spread school spirit and their own brand.
- iTunes U: Texas A&M links to its iTunes U page to share podcasts and other media.
Below is an example of different college departments that have their own Facebook pages to make announcements, share important dates, and try to engage students.
- Libraries: LSU’s libraries allow students to search their catalog from the Facebook page.
- Academic departments: Any academic department can set up a Facebook page to connect students and professors and garner more interest in programs.
- Athletics: Rally fan support on Facebook pages for sports teams.
- Homecoming: LSU set up a Facebook page for its 150th Homecoming festivities, sharing photos and links to news stories.
- Share research news: Schools with research facilities can share updates and news stories on a separate page.
- Greek life: Greek organizations can have their own Facebook pages, too.
- Campus churches: Stanford University Memorial Church has its own Facebook page, as the does the University Office for Religious Life.
- Career centers: Career centers on Facebook share stories about the job search, job fair dates, and more.
- Dining halls: Share photos, news from conferences, meal plan specials and food options.
- Environmental campaigns: Colleges use Facebook to highlight sustainability programs.
- Special programs: Scholars programs and other outreach programs deserve their own pages, too.
- Art departments: Broadcast theatrical shows, concerts, film events and more.
- Student groups: Have a page just for undergrads, and one for graduate students.